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Canal Village Goes Back 70 Years In Time

Author: Lynda Payton Published: 16th September 2014 15:17

Stoke Bruerne plays host to WW2 re-enactorsStoke Bruerne plays host to WW2 re-enactors
Tens of thousands of visitors flocked to Stoke Bruerne’s annual Village at War event to enjoy the popular 40’s spectacle organised by The Friends of the Canal Museum and villagers. The WW2 vintage event, which is now in its 7th year and has won many awards and accolades, featured two aerial displays, one each day, with a Dakota and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight buzzing the skies over the village.

Living history groups and individual re-enactors such as policemen, spivs, air raid wardens, American GI’s, the Free French and Land Army girls came from all over the country to entertain and show visitors what life was like in wartime Britain. The glamorous singer Lola Lamour and George Formby (aka Paul Casper) were performing to packed audiences on the Alhambra Stage (under the arches of the canal bridge) and in the NAAFI tent. Wartime fare like spam sandwiches and bread and dripping were available and Monty, King George VI and Churchill were on hand to carry out troop inspections. Tanks and all kinds of military vehicles were on display, the local Northampton Home Guard were on parade and regular air raids sent visitors running for cover.

The fashion parade at the Church was a big WOW with visitors, many of whom went on to learn how to dance the hokey-cokey at the Village Hall Tea Dance before sipping a well earned cuppa at the Nippy Tea Rooms (aka Village School). And, of course, there were the colourful vintage canal boats packing the towpath, many of whom played important roles carrying vital supplies for the war effort.

New additions this year included a ‘Make Do and Mend’ Cabaret with Marjorie Cartright-Jones in the NAAFI and energetic jive dance lessons from the Swingsters at the Village Hall, not to mention the opportunity to see new WW1 and WW2 displays about the role of the canals in the Canal Museum included in the entry fee.

All in all, the weekend was action packed with plenty to see and do for all the family.

David Blagrove, Chairman of the Friends said: ”This year we have once again been blessed with wonderful weather which has ensured a huge turn-out and everyone has enjoyed themselves immensely. I am immensely grateful for all the volunteer effort which has gone into making Village at War such an enormous success, raising funds to help support our Museum as well as other local and waterway charities and I look forward to doing it all again next year.”

The editor of AboutMyArea/NN12 went along sadly only briefly on both days.

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